I couldn’t be happier with the way things are turning out with the Bioregional Education class. It seems the numbers of students at different times in the class are resolving themselves and those that I am left with are really interested and dedicated. The majority are about seventeen which means they have lots of energy and enthusiasm and it is just a question of directing them in the right direction, the bioregional direction. But they truly seem interested in the topics we are learning about, really like the practices and excursions, and want to do community development projects as well!
This week we have been learning about the Humid Tropical Forest with the assistance of Cheo who is a dynamic and commanding teacher. On Tuesday we went over different vocabulary words such as vines and biosphere in order to put the Humid Tropical Forest into context, then talked about the forest and finished off with a creativity/team-work game in which they had to stack cards into a pyramid and get it as high as they could as quickly as they could. We broke them into three groups and it was great to see them work together and brainstorm. I think it is an education style that they are not used to, but of course enjoy.
Thursday we went to the vivero (greenhouse) and I was so happy to see the enthusiasm that the participants showed with what we were doing there. We split up into two groups and I took one group up into the reforested hills to talk about the different trees, our projects and why we do them. The students all asked a lot of questions and had a really good time. Heather was in charge of the other group which she led through the greenhouse, preparing beds and planting seeds. We then switched groups so that they would all have a chance to do both activities
On Sunday we are meeting to go to Cabo Pasado to see an example of Humid Tropical Forest. Cheo will be our guide and the owner of the property will accompany us. The students are really excited to go and see all the plants and animals there, and I think we are in good hands with our guides.
Next week Friends of the Eco-city are kicking off International Environment Week. We will be participating in the Bosque en Medio de las Ruins clean up on Friday. My students are enthusiastically preparing a skit to perform before the town on Saturday night about the importance of taking care of our natural resources. On Sunday we will all be participating in a beach clean up followed by marine creature sand sculptures.
I have also had the opportunity to participate in some of the different meetings of the presidents and representatives of the neighborhoods. I was a special guest at the last one and was asked to talk about what I am doing for the Bioregional Education Project. I asked the different representatives for support in the project and said that my students are interested in taking what they are learning and teaching others, doing education projects in the schools and community as well as beach clean ups and other projects. There was a warm reception on the part of the representatives and so now it is really a question of coming up with something concrete and implementing it.
As far as the Bosque clean up next week, I am working hard to involve the community of Maria Auxiliadora as well as the high-school students in the project. I have been talking to both Elba from the Eco Amigos as well as the president of the barrio in order to gain more support and involvement in the clean up. One thing that we have been thinking to do is clear an area to put in benches and possibly tree swings with the help of the Civil Defense representative Jose Parraga. We will also be weeding the trails and do some clearing of debris as you suggested. One issue that has been raised is if there is someone that can keep an eye on the park and take some responsibility for it. I will be talking more to the community about this next week. I am wondering if it would also be possible to plant some trees symbolically in the area that we have cleared for benches. It would be great for the students to be able to be involved with this and see the trees grow and also be good for community spirit.
Please keep me posted on the possibility of sending a digital camera down with the mayor. I think that it would be wonderful for the education project both for the students and community here as well as to show you all the fun, interesting and educational things that we are doing and post them on the web.
So with much enthusiasm I conclude this weeks report,